Academic says people who are against legalising gay marriage are 'not intelligent enough to take part in meaningful debate' (?)

But he says so on the basis of a survey question that did NOT mention gay marriage! A fuller report of the research is here.  It is in general carefully done but I am surprised that the results are reported as a trend.  That would normally be used for a time series. The more usual presentation would be in the form of a correlation coefficient. When correlations between beliefs and IQ are examined on other occasions, the correlation is found to be very weak.  That may have been the case on this occasion but has been covered up by the unusual analysis.

Concern must also be expressed that attitude was measured by just one very general question.  Psychologists normally use multi-item scales precisely because answers to a single question can be very misleading. And in that connection one must note that the question did NOT refer to marriage. It was just a general rights question.

That is of particular concern when we note that the answers to the question were from two years ago, long before the marriage debate became as well-defined as it is now. The same question might well be differently understood now.

The author has clearly overgeneralized from his finding. Insofar as the finding means anything, I see it as just another iteration of the general finding that high IQ people have a weak tendency to be more Leftist.  They think they know it all and so do Leftists.  It also means that more intelligent kids are better at picking up and absorbing the lessons drummed into them by our Left-dominated educational system.

An academic has suggested opponents of gay marriage are less intelligent.

Dr Francisco Perales, a senior research fellow with the University of Queensland's Institute for Social Science Research, argues those opposed to redefining marriage struggled with processing complex ideas.

Citing comprehensive demographic data, he said those planning to vote 'No' in the same-sex marriage postal vote were unlikely to be persuaded by the facts.

'This may shed some light on why those who stand against equal rights may not be persuaded by evidence-based arguments in the ongoing same-sex marriage debate,' he said in an opinion piece for the ABC on Tuesday.

'This applies, for instance, to the scientifically unsupported claim that children are worse off in same-sex households.'

The Brisbane-based academic, who specialises in 'gender and sexual identity', said opponents of changing the Marriage Act lacked the cognitive ability to process complex ideas, discern facts from speculation and critically engage with new or diverse viewpoints.

'Specifically, there is a strong and statistically significant association between higher cognitive ability and a greater likelihood to support equal rights between same- and different-sex couples,' Dr Perales said.

He added older people and those from non-English speaking backgrounds were more likely to oppose gay marriage.

'Some population groups — older people and those from non-English-speaking backgrounds, for example — may be more opposed to equal rights and also perform worse in cognitive ability tests,' he said.

'For the former group, this may be due to cognitive decline, and for the latter it may be due to English not being their first language.'

He argued the 'No' case were relying on arguments unrelated to same-sex marriage, such as religious freedom or gender theory in schools, to persuade socially conservative voters.

'These results may thus shed some light over why some on the 'No' side may be failing to offer or accept evidence-based arguments, or why they keep relying on philosophically, historically or empirically flawed ones,' Dr Perales said.

With former Liberal prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, along with socially conservative politicians like Bob Katter, leading the 'No' case, Dr Perales didn't suggest all opponents of gay marriage were less intellectual.

'The findings do not mean that all who intend to vote 'no' in the marriage ballot have a low level of cognitive ability,' he said. 'Nor do they mean that all those who intend to vote 'yes' have a high level.'

However, he concluded opponents of gay marriage were more likely to be less intelligent, citing data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia annual surveys of  17,000 people.

'People who stand against equal rights for same-sex couples are less likely to have cognitive resources that are important to participating in meaningful debate,' he said.

His intervention into the gay marriage conversation comes as voters return ballots from the Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of the $122 million voluntary postal vote on redefining the Marriage Act.

Opinion polls, including Newspoll, show the 'Yes' having majority public support.


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